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Epilepsy Behav. 2009 Jan;14(1):83-8. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2008.09.012. Epub 2008 Oct 25.

General public knowledge, attitudes, and practices with respect to epilepsy in the Batibo Health District, Cameroon.

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Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde I, Neurology Department, Central Hospital Yaounde,Yaounde, Cameroon.


Our aim was to obtain baseline data for an epilepsy education program adapted to communities in Cameroon. We conducted 302 face-to-face interviews with patients without epilepsy, caregivers, and visitors in the Batibo District Hospital. Most respondents (99.3%) had heard or read about epilepsy, 89.7% knew someone with epilepsy, and 87.7% had witnessed a seizure. About 43% would object to associating with people with epilepsy (PWE) and 75.8% would object to their children marrying PWE, whereas 35.1% would offer PWE equal employment. Predictors of negative attitudes were: advanced age, lack of formal education, and the belief that epilepsy is hereditary, contagious, or a form of insanity. In conclusion, the high level of public awareness of epilepsy in the Batibo Health District may reflect the magnitude of the condition, contrasting with the prevalent negative attitudes. A successful epilepsy education program must take into account the beliefs and value systems of the community.

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